Tuesday, January 28 – Martin and the Moles
Today I insisted that everyone helped me collect dry kindling. Martin and Stephen had been bringing in unseasoned twigs salvaged from their tree cutting, which though they burn eventually on a hot fire, do little to really get a fire blazing. I suppose because I am the one who starts the day earlier than everyone else and gets the fires going again, I have become a connoisseur of good kindling and am very choosy about what I use to start my fires.
Since the storms brought down many dead and rotten branches, there is masses of good material around the grounds and in the fields. And the fronds of pine trees will work well once they are dry too. So we went outside in between showers to collect as much as we could. Not only will it help to keep us warm but it is making the gardens look tidier again too.
The wind was cold, but the sun came out a couple of times. The snowdrops are really bursting out in great clusters now and most of the hellebores are in bud as well. But I was annoyed to see that the mole which Martin has been trying to catch has invaded a second flower bed. This wet weather has driven them onto higher ground this year and this particular mole is proving hard to catch. We used to be able to phone or text for the mole catcher, but he lives the other side of Chiddingfold so we can’t reach him without driving all the way there. Martin had always tried to work out how to set the traps but is not having any success so far. And if he does succeed, he won’t lift the trap himself but will send me out to check whether it has caught the culprit. I think anyone capable of shooting birds ought to be able to deal with smaller creatures too, but he says they are too like rats for him to handle them. I don’t think they are ratlike at all, with their black velvet coats and spade-like paws. But I don’t like them, all the same, if they dig up my flowerbeds.